What is the difference between softball and baseball glove?
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Baseball and softball (Fastpitch softball) are similar sports, but the gloves used in each differ. For instance, baseball gloves are generally smaller than fastpitch softball gloves. This difference exists because baseballs are smaller than softballs, so their respective glove size varies. Despite the differences, some wonder if softball players can use baseball gloves and vice versa. In this article, we’ll look into the inter-use of the two gloves and specific differences between them, such as the design, size, and feel.
Are Baseball and Softball Gloves The Same
Although they possess a few similar qualities, baseball and softball gloves are not the same. One of the more noticeable differences between the gloves is the velcro straps.
Most softball players like to play with a tight glove, so many softball gloves come with velcro straps so players can adjust the tightness. Baseball players usually prefer looser-fitting gloves for flexibility, so most baseball gloves do not include velcro straps.
Another difference between the gloves is the opening size. Since, on average, females have smaller hands than males, softball glove openings are smaller than baseball glove openings. This feature resembles softball players wanting a tighter fit and baseball players wanting a looser one, as a difference in opening size would fit their needs.
Despite being used in related ways, baseball and softball gloves differ in many aspects, including look, feel, and features that distinguish them from each other.
Is there a difference between fastpitch softball glove and baseball glove
Image: Comparison about Difference between Softball and Baseball Glove
As we’ve established, there is a difference between softball and baseball glove. Because a softball holds more mass than a baseball, softball gloves are typically larger than baseball gloves. This can differ based on age and hand size, but the point generally stands.
There are four main criteria about the differences in the gloves to consider. They are: design, size, player, and feel.
When looking at the two gloves, it may be hard to tell the difference. The lacing, build, and overall style are very similar. However, the design certainly differentiates the gloves from each other.
Baseball gloves use a smaller and longer pocket than fastpitch softball gloves, which has to do with the size of the respective balls. Baseballs are about 9 inches in circumference, while softballs are about 12 inches, which explains the baseball glove’s smaller pocket.
Contrarily, softball glove pockets are deeper and shorter than baseball glove pockets. Due to the baseball glove pockets being taller, baseball players have better control for their catches and need to know when to ‘snap’ to make a catch, while softball players can let the ball travel into their mitt as they have a deeper pocket.
In addition to the pocket size, the webs of the gloves differ from baseball to softball. Baseball gloves can use many web styles, including basket, trapeze, h-web, and i-web.
Baseball web styles can be flexible because their pockets aren’t as deep as softball gloves. Softball webs will tend to be more closed than baseball webs, but pitchers in each sport will likely always play with closed webs.
So, the design is the first of difference between softball and baseball glove.
Baseball glove size and softball glove size
Baseball and Softball glove models are designed differently to accommodate the size of the game ball. For example, a baseball is only 9 inches in size and a baseball glove is designed to catch and hold that size, whereas a softball could be 11 or 12 inches, so these gloves have a larger pocket.
As specific features of baseball and softball gloves differ, the actual size also varies. Youth baseball players wear 9-inch gloves, adults can wear gloves as large as 13 inches, and pitchers use any glove ranging from 11 to 12 inches. Meanwhile, softball pitchers typically use larger gloves ranging from 11.5 to 13 inches to adjust for the larger size of the softball.
Glove size can differ by position in either baseball or softball, but baseball and softball catchers don’t share the same sized mitt. Baseball catcher gloves are roughly 32 to 34.5 inches, but because softball glove sizes are larger than baseball glove sizes, a softball catcher glove size is 33 to 35 inches, which is a half-inch difference.
Catcher’s gloves also differ in design as there is increased padding for a baseball catcher’s glove since baseball pitchers throw faster than pitchers in softball.
A regulation baseball is only 9” and a regulation softball is about 12”. So, baseball gloves are made with a smaller and longer pocket since the ball is smaller, whereas the pocket of a softball glove is deeper and shorter since the ball is larger.
No matter what sport, every player likes to use their equipment in unique ways that suit individual needs, which certainly applies to gloves as players may want to play with smaller or larger-sized gloves.
Because of having a deep pocket in a softball gloves, most players would like their gloves to be as tight as possible. This quality allows the glove to absorb the ball without the players needing to move their fingers as much as they would have with a looser mitt.
On the other hand, most baseball players like to play with gloves that offer easy movement for the fingers and hand, which is due to the taller and shallower frame of baseball gloves.
Gloves can also be broken into making the flap easier to move, but some players prefer to use gloves that limit the range of motion. Details like these are all subjective and depend on what the player feels is best for them.
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Similar to the last section, each player’s preference for the gloves feel demonstrates how a baseball glove differs from a softball glove. Typically, softball gloves will have smaller openings than baseball gloves because females tend to have smaller hands than men. Some gloves for both sports provide coat-like material to add comfort, but some players opt out and would rather only feel the leather on their hands.
Many aspects of baseball and softball gloves exemplify the glove’s differences, including how they look and feel. Despite their differences, they also share some similarities.
Image: Difference between baseball and softball ball
Can You Use a Softball Glove for Baseball
Although it is possible, using a softball glove for baseball is not recommended. Because there is a small difference between softball and baseball glove. Since a softball is larger than a baseball, softball gloves are designed to suit larger balls, so they are designed with a deeper web. In addition, softball gloves are heavier and thicker than baseball gloves, which helps better absorb the softball.
Most softball players favor a tighter fit for their gloves, while baseball players prefer a more relaxed feel to elevate their game. Having a tighter feel while playing baseball may be uncomfortable and could even make it more difficult to make routine baseball plays.
The deep web in softball gloves may make it more difficult for infielders or pitchers to quickly transfer the baseball from glove to hand, and it could even make simple flyouts harder to catch for outfielders. Limiting errors is key to winning baseball games, and using a fastpitch softball glove could create more errors.
If you want to optimize your performance, using softball gloves will probably not suffice and can make the game more difficult to play.
Can You Use a Baseball Glove for Softball
Using a baseball glove for softball is not recommended. Baseballs are smaller than softballs, so baseball gloves are designed with a taller and shallower web to suit the smaller ball and give more flexibility to the players. Also, baseball gloves are lighter and thinner than softball gloves, so trying to catch a softball with a baseball mitt may make it harder and could even damage the glove.
Most baseball players prefer a relaxed feeling for their gloves, while softball players prefer a tight feel. Using a glove with a looser grip while playing softball could be uncomfortable and make the game more challenging. You would be playing with a glove made for smaller balls and a ball made for larger gloves, which does not sound like a recipe for success.
The tall and shallow frame of a baseball gloves’ web may make it more difficult for infielders and pitchers to swiftly transfer the softball in their glove to their hand, as the ball is oversized for the mitt. Outfielders may have difficulty making routine plays such as picking up grounders or catching flyouts for the same reason.
One could get by while using a baseball glove for softball, but using such a glove will without a doubt put the player at a disadvantage.
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Conclusion: Differences between baseball gloves and fastpitch softball gloves
Baseball and softball gloves certainly vary from each other. The webs are different, as baseball gloves have a taller and narrower build, while softball gloves are deeper and shorter. Softball gloves are larger than baseball gloves since softballs are considerably larger than baseballs. Lastly, baseball gloves have a more relaxed and loose feel to enhance players’ performance, while softball gloves use velcro to gain a more tight feel that is a favorite among players.
Many aspects of baseball and softball gloves are the same. They are both used to catch balls, are made with similar materials, and their appearance is nearly identical. However, when looking into the specifics of each glove, it’s clear that baseball gloves are not the same as softball gloves.
Finally, BaseballHub hope that this article will give you an overview of the difference between softball and baseball gloves
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I am Harry La, CEO for BaseballHub.Net – a baseball website and I am also a Baseball Writer. I am responsible for the publication of such articles as game recaps and previews, player interviews, coaching updates, and in-depth previews of upcoming games or series.